Road to riches via manufactured spendingDo you have $100,000 in cash under your mattress? No? I am a little disappointed, because you could have earned this sum by following some of my past advice in buying Visa gift cards and liquidating them. With the right credit card, each of the following cards earned me ~$20.
Credit card gloryOkay then, do you have $100,000 in your IRA? If yes, you can take advantage of Bank of America's relatively new Preferred Rewards program. In the program, you can earn bonuses for keeping money at Bank of America, including its subsidiary Merrill Lynch. These bonuses include (in order of importance to me):
- 75% bonus on credit card rewards
- free investment trades every month
- waived monthly bank account fees
Alternatively, you can get the Cash Rewards credit card, which earns
- 3% (5.775% with multipliers!) back at the gas station
- 2% (3.85% with multipliers) back at grocery stores, and
- 1% (1.925% with multipliers) back on everything else.
$1,075 to start!There are nearly always account opening bonuses on all three accounts: brokerage, checking, and credit card. These will add up to $1,075 if you apply in the right sequence and take advantage of a current checking account promotion:
- $300 for opening a checking account (expires April 10, and note the direct deposit requirement and service fees, which will get waived if you keep a certain balance and waived permanently once you qualify for a Preferred Rewards tier)
- $600 for depositing/transferring $200,000 of securities ($300 for $100,000)
- $100 for opening a Bank of America credit card, which will get bonused up into $175 only after your 3-month average BofA balance has reached $100,000 and you redeem into a checking account. You will need to wait about 1.5 months for this to happen if you deposit $200,000.